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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. International research has identified young men as reluctant to seek help for mental health problems. This research explored barriers and solutions to professional help seeking for mental males seeking males problems among young men living in the North West of Ireland. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

This study offers an in-depth exploration of how young men experience barriers and uniquely offers solutions identified by participants themselves. Youth work settings were identified as a resource for engaging young men in mental health work. Young men can be encouraged to seek help if services and professionals actively address barriers, combining advertising, services, and education, with particular attention and respect to how and when young men seek help and with whom they want to share their problems.

Once a decision to ask others for assistance is made, information is disclosed to others in exchange for help. Statistics released in reported that despite Ireland having a relatively low rate of death by suicide in the European Union, it ranked fourth highest among young people across Europe with the highest suicide rate among to year-old men National Office of Suicide Prevention, International literature has identified a comprehensive list of barriers to professional help seeking among young men.

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Problems with interpreting, managing, and communicating distress can result in young men becoming caught in a cycle of avoidance as reported by Biddle et al. Perceived stigma is one of the most frequently cited barriers to professional help seeking in research literature Clement et al.

Some studies have reported that young men may experience discomfort, embarrassment, fear, and shame around asking for help Booth et al. Other studies have identified that gender socialization Rickwood et al.

Additionally, help-seeking intentions tend to decrease in young men who have suicidal thoughts Rickwood et al.

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Research on attitudes to professional help seeking has revealed that young men whose families have stoic or negative attitudes toward mental health services are less likely to seek help Judd et al. Other attitudinal barriers reported include negative attitudes toward professional help seeking Gonzalez et al. Young men have a greater need for confidentiality Gonzalez et al.

Fear of dependency and feelings of incompetency also contribute to non—help seeking Chan, ; Judd et al. Alcohol, drugs, and aggressive behavior are common outlets for young men in cultures that encourage masculine ideals of self-reliance and denial of emotions which discourages young men from professional help seeking Biddle et al.

This research uses two approaches as a framework for exploring the social and cognitive aspects of help-seeking behavior with young men. This can aid in understanding how young men evaluate perceived private and public benefits and costs, both physical and personal, such as time, financial, indebtedness, dependence, damage to self-esteem, or damage to public image. This model is composed of social influences, males seeking males, normative beliefs and cultural expectations Chan, and can aid in predicting whether young men will seek help or not.

This often depends on in-group comparison with an out-group; the in-group will seek out negative aspects of an out-group and exaggerate them to bolster in-group identity and by proxy, the self-image of its members. Self-categorization theory explores the individual mechanics of SIT, explaining how the self can be categorized at various levels of abstraction.

Vogel, Heimerdinger-Edwards, Hammer, and Hubbard emphasized the need to pay specific theoretical attention to how conformity to dominant masculine norms and self-stigma are linked to adverse attitudes toward help seeking in men. Research on help seeking among young men has revealed a comprehensive list of barriers predominantly through quantitative males seeking males Nam et al. However, an important finding on facilitators has shown young people need to have established and trusted relationships with those who can offer help Rickwood et al.

The aim of this research was to explore barriers to professional help seeking for mental health problems among young men years and to explore solutions proposed by them that are relevant to their lived realities. Understanding the influence of the Catholic heritage on help-seeking perspectives can provide rich understanding on some of the unique cultural influences on young Irish men. This qualitative study used a constructivist epistemology. Constructivism values the multiple realities individuals possess, views knowledge as socially constructed and able to change depending on context Golafshani, The sample consisted of 17 male years participants living in County Donegal, North West Ireland.

Recruitment took place in a local youth service in County Donegal.

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This service works with 5, young people throughout the county with a remit of personal and social development. An information session was organized in the drop-in males seeking males where information sheets were distributed to male service users aged 18 to 24 years. Those interested self-selected to participate in either a focus group or interview.

Participants provided written informed consent prior to commencement of data collection. Face-to-face interviews helped obtain individual perspectives and provide confidentiality to participants Bryman, Focus groups, although a manufactured setting, allowed for the exploration of attitudes within the social setting wherein they are created and exchanged Litosseliti, Data were collected in two parts using a semistructured interview guide Bryman, Part 2 focused on solutions, using reasons from Part 1.

Data collection took place in an interview room within the local youth service. On arrival ground rules, the style of questioning and session procedure was explained to participants. Sessions were audio-recorded for analysis purposes only.

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When sessions were finished, participants were thanked and debriefed with an information sheet detailing local mental health services. The third author checked and reviewed the data at each stage of the analysis process to increase trustworthiness. Member checking was also utilized; six participants were willing to return and review the refined themes. The researcher met with the participants individually in the youth center and showed them which they read and discussed.

All participants reported that the themes made sense, were realistic and accurate to what had been communicated. They also reported that participation had been beneficial and enjoyable. This research study received ethical approval from the School of Communication Filter Committee, University of Ulster, and the research adhered to the ethical frameworks of the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy and the Irish Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy.

Participants were informed about their voluntary participation, their right to withdraw without adverse consequences, possible benefits of taking part in research. Anonymity was ensured though the removal of identifiers. All data were stored confidentially in accordance with the Data Protection Act Participants were informed of the potential for future publication of the findings.

Inthe first author read a report which stated that the rate of suicide among young Irish men was amongst the highest in Europe Richardson et al. As a professional youth worker, the first author, who interacts daily with young men, was deeply concerned about how to encourage young men to use mental health services.

From conducting a literature search on barriers to help seeking, it was apparent that while there were connections between research findings and features from Irish culture, culturally specific research was vital. The first author led the research conducting recruitment, interviews, transcriptions, and analysis of data. To limit the impact of dual relationships, participants were recruited that did not have rapports with the lead researcher.

During data collection facilitation and rapport building skills were males seeking males to create a males seeking males and informal environment. Anticipating bias from the review of the extant literature, the lead researcher consciously adhered to the interview schedule, asking only open-ended questions and probing for deeper exploration.

Being from the same region and cultural background as the participants enabled the lead researcher to understand colloquial terms and cultural nuances, greatly aiding in aspects of the analysis and search for themes. A methodological approach was taken, inductively searching for latent themes in data, coding for meaning, mapping, and refining themes.

The lead researcher was aware that favorable bias may exist toward youth work as many participants were involved in a youth service.

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If the youth service was beneficial for participants, then this was a potential resource for exploration. Two focus groups were conducted with six participants in each group, and the mean age was The interview sample consisted of five participants, with a mean age of Summary of participant demographics and coding are in Table 1.

The data collected revealed no difference in depth of exploration or themes between the group and the individual responses and thus, were analyzed together. This self-selection strategy was successful in showing that the methodology employed was ideal for mental health research with young men. From thematic analysis of the data, seven key males seeking males of barriers and five key themes of solutions to professional help seeking were identified.

Participants discussed how help seeking can cause manifold social ramifications including labeling, negative reactions, perceived weakness, and potential rejection from the group. Young men may learn from their peer group that professional help seeking is a of weakness, and fear that this behavior could cause them rejection and ridicule from the group. Several personal barriers were identified including issues with communication, symptom recognition, personal losses from asking for help and ineffective coping mechanisms.

Key cultural and environmental barriers included religious influences, generational divides, and rural life. While participants stated they felt more comfortable expressing emotions while drunk, they reported that what is expressed is often distorted or exaggerated causing undesirable behavior, such as crying, recklessness, or altercations with others. This method becomes ineffective, exacerbating problems, and often creating more barriers.

Some participants described not knowing how or where to go to get professional help. Some participants, including one openly gay participant, discussed the impact of the stigma of being gay in a traditionally Catholic country.

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Young gay men have to disclose their sexuality in exchange for help, and based on negative experiences, fear homophobic responses from professionals:.

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